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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona severely scammed as a state

The next time you find a job or receive an offer that seems too good to be true it most likely is, at least in Arizona.

Earlier this month, the Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona released its list of the top-10 scams of 2010. Among those listed were employment scams, “”work from home”” jobs, over-payment ploys and identity theft. Other schemes, such as debt relief services and timeshare resellers, reflected the struggling economy in the U.S.

The report comes at a time when Arizona is considered the sixth most-scammed state in the U.S., according to the Federal Trade Commission’s latest report on consumer fraud, which includes data from 2009.

College students can be especially vulnerable to fraudulent schemes. Market research firm Javelin Strategy & Research found that people aged 18 to 24 years old were the slowest to detect identity fraud, taking twice as many days when compared to other age groups according to a study released last year.

Identity thieves and con artists often pose as legitimate employers online, over the phone or in person in order to get a student’s personal and financial information.

Bill Ruggirello, assistant director of employer relations at Career Services, recommended that students do research on potential employers before offering any personal information.

“”Check them out thoroughly,”” Ruggirello said. He suggested checking with the Better Business Bureau and the state attorney’s office to see if any complaints have been filed about the company.

Ruggirello said there are some “”red flags”” to be aware of when seeking employment:

1) Any fees to apply for a job

Ruggirello said most legitimate employers shouldn’t require you to pay to apply for a position. Employers should be upfront with their information about a position, he said.

2) Cashing a check and being allowed to keep a percentage

An employer will send you a seemingly legitimate check to be cashed. You are then asked to keep part of the money and send the rest to the employer. Once the bank discovers the check is a forgery, it will then hold you responsible for repayment. “”A legitimate employer will never ask you to cash a check on their behalf,”” Ruggirello said.

3) High salary offered for work-at-home jobs

“”If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is,”” Ruggirello said.

4) Requests to “”verify”” your identity, especially over the phone

“”Never give an account number, never give a debit card number, never give a checking account number to verify anything”” to a potential employer, Ruggirello said.

5) Spelling and grammatical errors or unusual phrasing

Scams are not limited to the U.S., thanks to websites and online offers that can come from any part of the world. Even professionally designed websites can mask a scam. But what is often a telltale sign is how poorly a website is written. “”It’s usually some guy in a back room there on the Internet trying to scam people to send money for something that doesn’t exist,”” Ruggirello said.

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